Bedroom tax is the term for an ‘under occupancy’ charge that you will incur if you have too many bedrooms for your needs.
This could affect you:
- If you are 16 to 61 years old
- Even if you only get a small amount of housing benefit – for example, if you are working
- Even if you are sick or disabled
Under the new rules, if you have more bedrooms than the UK Government says you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit. The new rules mean you will be allocated one bedroom for:
- Each adult couple
- Any other person aged 16 or over
- 2 children of the same sex under the age of 16
- 2 children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
- Any other child
- A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.
It does not matter how the ‘spare’ bedroom is used, the new rules will apply even if:
- You and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
- The main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.
How much will be deducted?
If you have one ‘spare’ bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of your full weekly rent. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%.
If your benefit is cut you will have to pay the difference between your housing benefit and your rent. You can pay us in a number of ways, including at our offices, over the phone and online.
What should I do?
If you are worried about being able to afford to pay your rent you should ask for advice now.
Speak to one of our Rent Management Officers by calling 0800 012 1080.
If you don’t pay your rent you could lose your home, so talk to us about different ways to pay.
You can also
- Talk to us about transferring to a smaller home
- Consider taking in a lodger
- Get advice on budgeting and saving money on household bills
- Contact your council to ask about extra financial help. Councils have a limited amount of money available to make discretionary payments towards housing costs. Your council may prioritise your claim if you have a disability and your house has been adapted.
- Get in touch with your local citizens advice bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk or other local advice agencies.
- Make sure you are claiming all the benefits you can – for example, money to help with the costs of a disability.
- Try to find some paid work to increase your income.
Do you have a disability and need overnight care?
If you are of working age, have a disability and need a ‘spare’ bedroom so that a carer can stay overnight, you should contact your local council now so that staff can help you keep more of your housing benefit.
You won’t be affected if:
- You live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or if
- You or your partner is old enough to receive pension credits. In April 2013 the pension credit age will be around 61 years and 6 months.